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DOWNING STREET, May 15, 1863. (Received May 16.) SIR: I have laid before the Duke of Newcastle your letter of the 25th ultimo, inclosing an opinion of the law officers of the Crown upon the subject of the complaint of Rear-Admiral Wilkes, that undue partiality had been shown by the governor-in-chief of the Windward Islands to the confederate vessel Oreto.
2. His grace desires me to submit, for Earl Russell's consideration, the following remarks with reference to the law officers report. This report is not so much a report upon the question of law as a report upon the conduct of the governor in the execution of his instructions; and his grace does not clearly understand whether it is intended to convey a censure on the supposedl prudence of Mr. Walker's communication with Admiral Wilkes. If it be so, his grace could not concur in that censure. Assuming it to have been the duty of Mr. Walker to treat Admiral Wilkes with courtesy till his conduct justified a different course, his grace does not see that Jr. Walker made any statement that was imprudent or uncalled for, or which calls for animadversion.
3. With regard to the law-officers' opinion, that the governor did not adhere to Her Majesty's regulations with sufficient strictness, either in the case of the Oreto or in that of the San Jacinto, his grace observes that the law-officers have not afforded any such specification of the governor's errors as might be a guide to him in future. They say that the limits of the supply of coal prescribed by the regulation should be adhered to. But they do not say on what grounds they come to the conclusion that it has been exceeded. The supply is to be limited to such as will enable the ship to reach the nearest of its own ports, or any nearer destination. The supply to the Oreto was 90 tons. The papers do not show (though possibly the law-officers may be aware from other sources) what was the supply to the San Jacinto. The question, therefore, arising upon these papers is, whether 90 tons is more than would be required by such a vessel as the Oreto to reach the nearest confederate port, or any nearer destination.
4. It would be very desirable to explain to Governor Walker for what destination (supposing all confederate ports to be under blockade) the Oreto, or any other confederate ship under similar circumstances, should be allowed to take in coal.
5. On the next point, of alleged insufficient strictness, bis grace is disposed to a certain extent to agree with the law-officers. The regulation requires that “no coal shall be again supplied to any such ship of war, or privateer in the same, or any other port, roadstead, or waters, subject to the territorial jurisdiction of Her Majesty, without special perinission, until after the expiration of three months from the time when sach coal may have been last supplied to her within British waters, as atoresaid."
6. The Oreto appears to have coaled at Nassau within three months, and, indeed, within thirty days of her arrival at Barbadoes; and though the American consul's vehement remonstrance of the 24th February against her being allowed to coal did not touch the point, and the governor had no official information of the fact, he does not deny that the fact had transpired, and was known to him, but states that the supply of coal was allowed on the ground of the ship having
suffered at sea in a gale of wind, had been obliged to exhaust 199*her coal, the whole of which was gone ; so that, it supplies were
refused, the captain said he would be obliged to land his men, and strip the ship. The statement of the captain of the San Jacinto was of a like tenor. The first question seems to be, whether the governor ought to have instituted an inquiry into the truth of the statements made to him by the captains of the Oreto and San Jacinto. It appears to his grace that he ought. It is, no doubt, very desirable to avoid resting
, decisions, of which the impartiality is sure to be questioned, upon the results of inquiries in which, more or less doubtful and conflicting testimony has to be weighed. But in the case of an allegation that a vessel is destitute of coal, all that seems necessary is to send an officer on board to see whether there is coal there or not. Perhaps if the governor were to refuse to take the word of an American admiral for such a fact, and were to send an officer on board to verify it, the admiral would regard the proceeding as offensive; but, nevertheless, his grace thinks that he should be required to submit to it before he should be allowed to coal out of time, unless he be prepared to consent to the word of a confederate officer being taken in like manner without inquiry.
7. But, supposing the governor to have erred in these cases, it is not explained in the report of the law-officers, whether it is of this, or of what other errors, he has been guilty, so as to help him to avoid a repe. tition of error. For example, supposing it had been the fact duly ascertained, that the Oreto or Jacinto had suffered severely in a gale of wind, had exhausted all her coal, and was disabled from proceeding to sea unless supplied, was the governor to have forbidden her to coal on the ground that she had coaled at some British port within thirty days?
On the other hand, did his only error consist in his having allowed her to coal without verifying the fact of her distress?
8. Again, assuming the fact to be, that there is, or may be hereafter, no confederate port unblockaded, and that the real destination of a confederate vessel asking for supplies is a cruising destination, so that she is not bound for any particular port, is this to deprive her of the supplies which would be granted to a Federal cruiser in all respects similarly circumstanced, except that in her case a port can be designated which is in the possession of her government, by the distance of which from the British colony a standard is afforded for measuring the quantity of coal to be supplied.
9. His grace would be glad to be enabled to send out instructions to Governor Walker, founded upon the opinions of the law-officers, so far as they shall appear to have fully and correctly understood the course taken by the governor, together with any further instructions which would serve for the governor's guidance on the points adverted to, and on the nature of the cases, (if not those alleged by the Oreto and San Jacinto,) in which “special permission” is to be given to take in coals.
10. His grace desires me to observe that Governor Walker, by adopting the course of sending immediate notice to all the other governors in the West Indies of a belligerent vessel having obtained coals and supplies at Barbadoes, appears to have taken a very useful precaution against the violation of the regulations, and that it would, apparently, be expedient to instruct the other governors to do likewise.
I am, &c.,
T. FREDK. ELLIOT.
DowxING STREET, May 15, 1863. (Received May 18.) Sir: I have laid before the Duke of Newcastle your letter of the 2d instant, inclosing a dispatch from Her Majesty's minister at Washington respecting the complaint made by the United States Government of undue partiality shown by the governor of Barbados to the confederate steamer Florida.
I am to refer to the letter which was addressed to the Foreign Office upon this subject by his grace's desire on the 15th instant.
I am, &c.,
T. FREDK. ELLIOT.
Mr. Hammond to the lare-officers of the Crown.
FOREIGN OFFICE, May 19, 1863. GENTLEMEN: With reference to your report of the 18th ultimo, respecting the alleged partiality shown by the governor of the Windward Islands to the confederate steamer Oreto, I am directed by Earl Russell to transmit to you, together with the previous papers, a letter from the Colonial Office, containing the Duke of Newcastle's observations upon the views stated in your report. I also transmit to you a dispatch and its inclosures which have been received from Her Majesty's minister at Washington on this subject;2 and I am to request that you will again take this matter into your consideration, and favor Lord Rus. sell with such further observations as you may have to offer thereupon.
I am, &c.,
The lau-officers of the Crown to Earl Russell.
Further opinion of
TEMPLE, June 8, 1863. (Received June 9.) MY LORD: We are honored with your lordship's commands signified in Mr. Hammond's letter of the 19th May, ultimo, stating that, with reference to our report of the 18th April last, law others respecting the alleged partiality shown by the governor of the Windward Islands to the confederate steamer the Oreto, he was directed by your lordship to transmit to us, together with the previous papers, a letter from the Colonial Office, containing the Duke of Newcastle's observations upon the views stated in our report.
Mr. llammond was also pleased to transmit to us a dispatch, and its inclosures, which had been received from Her Majesty's minister at Washington on this subject, and to request that we would again take this matter into our consideration, and favor your lordship with such further observations as we might have to offer thereupon. No. 54.
? No. 52.
In obedience to your lordship's commands we have taken this matter into consideration, and have the honor to report
That we intended to express by our report that we thought the communications and explanations of Mr. Walker to Admiral Wilkes, regard being had to the character of that officer, were unnecessary and inexpedient; and that it appeared to us that they were likely to lead, as they appear to have done, to the difficulties which have arisen from the letter of Admiral Wilkes to Mr. Walker,
That, with respect to the observance of Her Majesty's regulations, in answer to the questions of the Duke of Newcastle, we have the honor to state our opinion : That it is most desirable that the terms of Her Majesty's proclamation should be strictly adhered to; that coal ought not to be supplied to either belligerent, except in such quantity as may be necessary to 66
carry such vessel to the nearest port of her own country, or to some nearer destination;" and that by these latter words it is not intended to include a mere cruising destination, but some definite port or place. That, therefore, coal granted at any of Her Majesty's ports, and consumed in cruising, ought not to be replenished under the terms of the proclamation ; but that a vessel whose coal has, owing to real necessities arising from stress of weather, been prematurely exhausted, before she could (if time and weather were the only obstacles) reach her port of destination, ought not to be forbidden by the governor to coal, although within the time specified in the regulations.
It would appear to us that the suggestion of sending an oflicer on board to verify in each case the necessity of coaling, would be likely to give great offense to belligerent men-of-war; but of course it would be competent to Her Majesty's government, if they thought fit, to make such a verification the condition of liberty to coal in Her Majesty's ports.
We have, &c.,
* No. 58.
Ur. Hammond to Jr. Elliot.
FOREIGN OFFICE, June 12, 1863. SIR: I am directed by Earl Russell to state to you that he referred to the law-officers of the Crown your letter of the 15th ultimo, containing remarks upon the report made by those officers with regard to the partiality alleged to have been shown by the governor of the Windward Islands to the confederate steamer Oreto.
I am now to transmit to you, to be laid before the Duke of Newcastle, a copy of a further report from the law officers of the Crown in explanation and elucidation of their previous report; and, with reference to the suggestions therein made, I am to request that you will state to his grace that the restrictions as to coaling appear to Lord Russell to be reasonable.
I am, &c.,
I No. 57.
Sir F. Rogers to Mr. Hammond.
Instructions to the Roernor
June 25, 1863. (Received June 26.) Sir: I am directed by the Duke of Newcastle to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 12th instant, inclosing a further opinion of the law-officers of the Crown respecting the partiality alleged to have been shown by the governor of the Windward Islands to the confederate steamer Oreto.
I request that you will state to Earl Russell that his grace proposes, with his lordship's concurrence, to address to Governor Walker, and to the governors of the several West Indian colonies, the following dis. patches communicating his lordship's opinion in respect to the restrictions under which coals are to be furnished to Federal and confederate ships of war.
I am, &c.,
[Inclosure 1 in No. 59.)
Draught of dispatch to Governor Walker.
Downing STREET, June —, 1863. Sir: I have received and had under my consideration your dispatch of the 7th March, giving an account of certain communications which have passed between yourself and Rear-Admiral Wilkes, of the United States Navy.
You were quite right in refusing to enter into correspondence with that officer upon the matter adverted to in his dispatch of the 5th March. On this and other occasions it has become evident that interviews and explanations such as you accorded to RearAdmiral Wilkes were made the pretext for placing on record charges more or less direct against officers of Her Majesty. And I thirk that, as the governor of one of Her Majesty's colonies owes no explanation of his conduct to an officer of the United States Navy, it will be prudent hereafter to avoid such explanations as far as the rules of courtesy will allow. It is the wish of Her Majesty's government that matters of complaint should in general be discussed between the two governments concerned rather than between any subordinate officers.
With regard to the issue of coal to the war-vessels of the belligerents, you have, I think, allowed yourself too much liberty in giving the “special permission to take in fuel contemplated in Her Majesty's proclamation. Coal, in the opinion of Her Majesty's government, ought not to be supplied to a vessel of war of either belligerent except in such quantity as may be necessary to carry such vessel to the nearest port of her own
country, (or, of course, any nearer port,) and this, I will add, without reference  to the question whether the ports of that country are or are not under
blockade. In case of such blockade it will rest with the officer in command to seek some more convenient destination. If within the period prescribed by the proclamation a vessel thus furnished with coal in one of Her Majesty's possessions should apply for a second supply in the same or another colony, the application may be granted if it is made to appear that, owing to real necessities arising from stress of weather, the coal originally given has been prematurely exhausted before it was possible that the vessel could, under existing circumstances, have reached the destination for which she coaled.
But if it should be the case that the vessel has not, since taking in coal, been bona fide occnpied in seeking ber alleged destination, but has consumed her fuel in cruising, the coal should not be replenished under the terms of the proclamation. Such a case is not one to which the “special permission” referred to in that proclamation was intended to apply.
Her Majesty's goverument are of opinion that the regulations of the proclamation thus interpreted should be strictly adhered to without any arbitrary concession to either belligerent. It is by such a course that misunderstandings and complaints of partiality will be most certainly avoided. An unauthorized concession to one belligerant, it may
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